The Employee’s Ally: The Department of People & Culture

The Employee’s Ally: The Department of People & Culture

Human Resources (HR):  A department focused on the strategic management of the people, culture and work environment of a company.

HR’s duty is to protect the company from violations of law that safeguard employees and in doing so ensures that the rights of all employees are honored and protected.  Among many other things, HR is responsible for recruitment, onboarding, maintaining personnel files and resolving internal conflicts.  HR is not your enemy, but in fact it’s quite the opposite, HR is the employee’s ally and it is the department that truly stands by the employee for the entire employment life cycle.  The department is often referred to as the Department of People & Culture.  So what does an HR/People & Culture department really do for employees?

  1. The HR Department assists employees with work-related issues.
    • If an employee experiences harassment or needs to ask questions concerning their employment, it’s the HR Department that stands at the ready to help explain policies and procedures and to ensure the employee’s needs are being respected and met.
  1. It’s the job of the HR Department to create and implement employee policies to an exacting standard and to perform compliance checks.
    • Strict regulations exist on the local, state, and federal level that help protect both the company and the employee in practically all work-related situations. The most effective way to achieve this is to keep employee’s best interests in mind thus ensuring a safe, efficient, and productive workplace.
  1. Cultivating and maintaining relationships with labor unions and their members is another HR function that benefits employees.
    • Maintaining good relations with unions helps the company to identify and resolve potential issues and conflicts quickly.
  1. One of the most crucial and valued responsibilities of the HR Department is to assist employees when they are experiencing personal and/or medical issues.
    • Problems in the workplace and at home can negatively impact employee performance, productivity, and morale. In times such as these, the HR Department works with the employee and communicates across teams to ensure positive outcomes and to support our employees during some of their toughest times.

The HR Department is a vital part of a company’s growth and success. The team is responsible for more than recruitment, complaints, and compensation. HR helps shape the company’s culture. A company is only as good as its people, and the HR Department is in charge of looking out for those people. In the words of Sir Richard Branson, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Learn more about the HR/People & Culture team leaders at DFS: Our Team.

Are You a Number or a Team?

Are You a Number or a Team?

Is everyone feeling the burnout from numbers lately? It’s a data driven world and there are numbers everywhere.  From dollars & cents to 2-day shipping to annual fees to reward points, everywhere you turn there is a number identifying something that someone wants you to think is important.  We’ve all been overloaded with pandemic-related numbers of all kinds on a daily and even hourly basis over the last two years.  We’ve moved around, thought about, entered/exited the world based on numbers, by our own choice or because we were told to.  Today we’re watching numbers go up on homes, rent, gas prices and grocery store receipts.

And let’s face it, employees everywhere are bombarded with numbers – there are a million incentives with twice as many number/data driven stipulations to earn “up to” whatever dollar figure is listed.  There are wages of all levels, fewer workdays, longer hours, more vacation days and a number of recognized holidays.  There are numbers measuring quantity and quickness that prove an employee’s value.  There are lead time numbers, retention numbers, performance numbers, customer satisfaction numbers; numbers, numbers, numbers.  And then just add the sheer number of job opportunities out there today and the numbers can be overwhelming.

For some, a party of one is exactly what they need.  But for others, a team of many is rewarding.  When you experience the power of teamwork, the connections with each other, and the impacts you have on one another, it can be the difference between a regular workday and a memorable workday.  Custodial teams are often designed with multiple shifts.  There are teams of people focused on designated tasks or within designated zones.  There are representatives talking with and assisting customers.  There are groups that share resources and respect each other to work together and achieve success.  You get to see the progress of your own efforts, combined with the efforts of many, every day and almost every minute of your workday.  You still see numbers, but they are less invasive because you see more smiles, you see things shine, you see team efforts in cleanliness, and you see a community.

In 2020 the world made an effort to get more connected, remotely, because of isolation.  In today’s world, everyone has access to technology and data; and business operations can move faster than ever.  But, what we gain with those opportunities can sometimes create a loss in engaging as teams.

Work in a warehouse or for delivery company might be appealing for any number of number-driven reasons, but your employee goal is to work alone and focus on numbers.  Your performance is tracked by quickness (how much time you take) and quantity (how much product you move).  You lose out on the benefits where human beings operate as a community.  As social beings, we can soak up benefits from team environments, customer service, engaging with peers, and working together to reach a goal.  Working in an industry like custodial services, teamwork is the foundation of success.  We can have every vacuum, scrubber, doodlebug and cleaning agent we need but still lack a team culture which ultimately drives that operation into lower productivity and higher turnover.  But an operation with a true team, can function creatively and collectively with fewer resources, if they need to, just by making commitments to each other and having earned trust amongst each other.

So, in a world full of warehouses and deliveries, ask yourself if you want to be a number, or if you want to be part of a team (maybe a custodial team) and watch the numbers follow.

CLICK HERE to explore DFS team opportunities at locations across the country, from New York to California, and at headquarters available now.  You can be a member of the DFS organization, and together we can be a team of many.

Giving Thanks this 2020 Holiday Season

Giving Thanks this 2020 Holiday Season

As 2020 comes to an end, I am reflecting on all that has changed and the challenges we faced this year. From a global pandemic, an economic crisis, record breaking unemployment and a national conversation about  institutional racism, 2020 has challenged us in ways no one could have ever imagined. 

I would normally begin this letter with all of our successes throughout the year, and while we had many, I would be remiss if I did not discuss the unfortunate times we have faced that directly impacted our friends, family, coworkers, customers and partners.  Many of us felt the pain of 2020 which directly changed our lives.  Many lost family members and friends to this COVID19 pandemic; some lost jobs or the ability to make a living with reduced hours and businesses shutting down; some had to make significate changes as a result of our children not being in school or the need to take care of an elderly parent. To say 2020 has been a challenge both personally and professionally would be an understatement. 

To our employees, thank you for all the hard work, dedication and commitment to our customers.  You are all on the frontline in this fight against the pandemic.  You are the reason our customers, students, first responders, traveling public and hospital staff can feel a little safer in these unusual times.  Your unwavering commitment in making sure our facilities were clean and free from this virus does not go unnoticed and I truly thank each of you from the bottom of my heart! 

To our customers, thank you for your continued support though our struggles.  Despite these difficult times, our work   progressed, you shifted your business and daily routines to make sure our employees remained safe and with minimal impact to their lives.  You understood the need to shift our focus and to change the way we do business in order to deliver a quality product.   We are truly inspired by your commitment to making a difference in these challenging times. On behalf of all DFS employees I say, THANK YOU!

To our suppliers and business partners, thank you for working tirelessly to maintain our supply chain, develop new products and procedures, and for supporting our operations in delivering service to our clients in an ever-changing environment.   Your flexibility and commitment to our staff is truly appreciated and we couldn’t have been successful without you!

In closing, with all the challenges, we faced in 2020 the future looks bright.  We are all stronger, smarter and more resilient then ever before.  We love a little harder, support our children a little more, and celebrate the differences of others without judgement.  We have become a better company because of you!   I am so thankful for all of you and wish you and your families nothing but the best in 2021.

Stay safe and have a blessed holiday seasons.

Mark Wright


DFS COVID-19 Response – A Letter to Our Customers


To Our Customers,

All of us at DFS take our responsibility to serve our community very seriously as we know our customers depend on us — especially during times of crisis.  With COVID-19 evolving daily, we are continually evaluating what we must do to meet the needs of our customers while also keeping our community and employees safe.  Over the past two weeks we have implemented several measures to make sure our facilities are being cleaned and disinfected with the utmost care and detail.  We have worked closely with our suppliers, partners and customers to make sure our supply chain of required products can be met and delivered on-time.  I would like to thank all of you for your assistance during these trying times and ensure you that our employees continue to work hard to ensure safe and clean facilities for everyone.

Listed below are protocols that have been implemented to ensure safety of our employees working at your facilities.  Understanding no two facilities are alike, we have asked our Site Managers to work with facility management to ensure we can accomplish what is needed to comply.

Promoting Social Distancing:

  • Managers have been instructed to review all work schedules and adjust start and end times to eliminate employees gathering at the time clock.  Employees are required to wear gloves when using the main time clock, and disinfectant will be used between shifts to clean each punch surface.
  • Where applicable, we have activated the ability for employees to punch in via an app on their personal phones, should they wish to do so.  All transactions are monitored via geofencing technology.
  • Break times and areas are being modified to make sure our employees have ample room and maintain the 6-foot space requirement recommended by the CDC.
  • Supply rooms and equipment are being distributed so that employees will not have to gather in a common space at the same time.

Procedure Requirements:

  • PPE is always required while in the facility.  This includes the use of gloves and goggles.  Under special circumstances, as required by our SOP’s, protective gowns and face masks are also required.
  • Mandatory hand washing every 30 minutes regardless of task or assignment.
  • For our locations in NY, CA and IL affected by the “Stay in Place Orders,” letters have been distributed to each employee identifying them as “Essential Needs Employees” with a company contact number, should anyone have questions.  Employees are only allowed to present that letter while going to and from work.  We are encouraging our employees to comply with their respective order otherwise.

Please know that we are committed to taking every measure possible to keep our customers and employees safe and healthy so we can continue to service your facility during this much needed time.  We will also be communicating with you if and when we have additional updates or information to share.  You can also get updates on our social media platforms at any time.

Thank you for your continued support!

Mark Wright, President/ CEO

A message from our President & CEO this Thanksgiving 2019

Dear DFS Family, Customers and Friends,

The holiday season is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past year while also looking forward to opportunities in the rapidly approaching New Year. Here at DFS, we are celebrating our many achievements in 2019 and gearing up for a remarkable 2020. We are also taking the time to appreciate all of the customers and partners who make our success possible.

Of course, I must first thank and express my appreciation for the remarkable group of people who come to work at DFS and bring value to our customers. Our dedicated employees work tirelessly each and every day to ensure our brand remains the best in the industry. You are the only reason DFS continues to be successful and flourish year after year, and for that, I say Thank You!

In 2019, we saw a continuation of our tremendous growth, now with more than 60 customer accounts and more than 1600 employees across the United States. We grew so much that we had to practically double the size of our corporate support staff to further support our operations. It is such an exciting time to be at DFS!

We also entered a new market in K-12 education facilities, partnering with Sodexo Magic, for three large zones within the Chicago Public School system. While DFS has been a premiere service provider for higher education facilities for many years, this opportunity gives us additional education experience that will open new markets in 2020 and beyond.

To our customers and partners, we appreciate each and every one of you, and we are thankful that you have decided to give us an opportunity to support your facility needs. Our team of professionals appreciate your support over the years, and we look forward to many more. I’m often asked by our potential customers “what sets DFS apart from the others?” and my answer is, and has always been, that our entire team simply CARES. We may not get it right all the time, but I know our team will do anything to make sure you are taken care of and all issues are resolved with satisfaction.

From the entire DFS Family, we wish you a happy and prosperous holiday filled with success, happiness and good health.

Mark Wright

President & CEO